The heart of Valentine's Day

It’s the star of books and movies; it’s been reinvented, revisited and rehashed. Get it right, get the merchandising rights and you’re smiling. It’s a universal industry that is as timeless as it’s fresh. Poets and singers from Chaucer to Celine Dion have embraced it, namely: Love!

The 14th of February is a day when floristry is in full bloom. When heart-shaped chocolates don’t contain calories and breakfast in bed is compulsory. Happy Valentine’s Day! Worldwide people are feeling the love. In Japan women offer honmi-choko (chocolates), while cartes d’amities (love-letters) are sent in France. In South Africa, weather permitting, couples tie the knot on Robben Island.

When exactly did the heart first start pumping a river of chocolate? It is believed that around AD 270 a certain priest called Valentine peeved off the Roman Emperor Claudius II. There are a few theories but the one with the best ring is that Valentine secretly performed marriage ceremonies. Imprisoned for this treachery, the defender of the heart fell in love with his jailer’s daughter. Before he was duly executed he sent her a letter signed, “Your Valentine.”

Most remember 1969 as the year man first landed on the moon. But in romantic circles a bigger event happened. This was the year the Catholic Church removed the title of sainthood from the ‘martyred’ Valentine.

Chaucer mentioned Valentine’s Day in his poem, The Parliament of the Foules. During the Middle Ages courtly love took devotion and chivalry to a whole new level. If you’re looking for pulp-passion skip Fifty Shades and read Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur. Knights thought nothing of dying in a duel for their beloved. Remember that as you grumble while washing the breakfast dishes.

Fast forward to Shakespeare whose tragic Ophelia laments, “Tomorrow is St Valentine’s day”. Poor girl, a broken heart is bad enough at the best of times. When your nose is rubbed into a Valentine’s heart it’s enough to make anyone crazy.

Yet Valentine’s day has evolved and it’s no longer just about romantic love. In the aftermath of So-not the way to go #SONA2015 we all need something to feel good about. Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity for your central nervous system to generously dish out endorphins!

Think of someone you love and let them know. You don’t have to spend a cent but you do have to make them feel special (note: no duels allowed). Above all be the star of your own Valentine’s show and celebrate the lurrvvvv every day of your life! It's good for your heart.

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